Deviance is a behavior that is thought to go against the common known standardized social norms which makes the behavior be disapproved by a majority of the people in the society. Norms do vary across different groups, places and even times but and therefore there is no standard way of gauging whether an act can be termed as deviant or not. In the case of Ron Kovic, an anti war activist, writer and veteran who was once a law abiding citizen, was socialized into a deviant member of society. This can be clearly seen through the movie Born on the Fourth of July.
In his case, the sub cultural theories may have played center stage because it is seen that he became a member of a group of the wounded soldiers from the Vietnam War. He was in that subculture that had a common goal which according to them was not wrong but from the perspective of the larger group of the American society, their behavior was considered deviant. Kovic was trying to make the society understand the importance of their views about the war but the wider society characterized by the leadership of the state could not recognize that fact but instead saw the activist and critic in him.
Kovic was socialized by some very peculiar agents to become the reformist that he is. One of the most important agents is whole idea about the war where most young men who went to war died in service (Henslin 2011). For those who survived death and were wounded, they were subjected to the deplorable medical conditions. He believed that war made no sense at all and therefore had to be stopped. His own experience of being at war, the kind of life he went through during his prison days and even the kind of life he was leading being confined to a wheel chair.
Deviance then was the only way out for Kovic because he sought to be heard. His case is a clear replica of the structural strain theory and the anomie theory. This is so because the outcome of his actions and deviance was due to social strains that were caused by the way society is structured (Henslin 2011). The only way for Kovic to manage his feelings about how the society was viewing him as a hero was to stand up and ask for the respect that fellow veterans and himself deserved. He had to use means such as rebellion that is, going against the norm and expectations of society to communicate to the government and fellow citizens. His personal goals at first were to fight for his nation but before long, after he was wounded and the feeling of neglect came in, he changed his attitude and goals all together.
Feeling appreciated can never sow seeds of discord in a person. Upon returning home after being wounded in the war, Kovic thought he could go home to a hero’s welcome. He thought that he could be appreciated by his country, and his countrymen. Instead he was placed in a veteran’s hospital where living conditions were very pathetic. This is a very influential factor that led him to be the reformist that he became. The environment that he was in clearly made him who he became aside from the government policies that never placed any focus and attention that he deserved for his service for his country. He can be termed as a being socialized to be the reformist that he became because had he not joined the army, maybe he may have become a totally different person from who he is.
Henslin, J. M. (2011). Essentials of sociology: A Down –To-Earth Approach. 9th Edition. New Jersey. Prentice Hall. Print.